Should You Visit Charleston?

Are you thinking about visiting Charleston, South Carolina? Here's what you need to know before planning your trip.


Is Charleston worth visiting?

Yes, it's worth visiting this coastal town for two to seven days because of the many great activities. Charleston is a historic and charming city on the coast of South Carolina. It's one of the most beautiful towns in the area and it has many pastel antebellum houses and horse-drawn carriages that take you along its cobblestoned streets. There is also a waterfront park and many nearby beaches. You can also explore historic plantations that educate visitors on the city's past which is rooted in slavery. We first visited Charleston in childhood and visited at least once a year for many years. During our time here, we fell in love with its incredibly beautiful old town and access to amazing beaches. Charleston is loved by visitors for many reasons, and is routinely on national "best of" lists, including CNN's Places to Travel in 2023.

A Plantation Estate near Charleston, South Carolina A Plantation Estate near Charleston, South Carolina

Reasons to Visit Charleston

Food
Food lovers will enjoy the city's low country classics. There are many local restaurants in town that serve southern specialties. You can also head a bit out of the town center if you want a waterfront restaurant. Local favorites include she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, cornbread, and fried green tomatoes.

Historical Sights
Charleston's downtown is one of the most charming and well preserved Old Town's in the United States. It's easy to see why it's become a world class destination.

Shopping
The city is famous for its historic market in the center of town. Local goods, foods, and crafts are sold daily here. There are also many clothing and local shops throughout town, particularly along King Street, which has boutiques and high end outlets. Outside of town, stop by Tanger Outlet Mall if you want name brands at a discount price.

Beaches
The area has a number of beautiful and fun nearby beaches including Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, and Seabrook Island. Folly Beach is an active and quirky beach area, while Kiawah is more family-friendly. Seabrook is more residential and more expensive.

Museums
This city is famous for its many historic churches and plantations. The plantations are open to visit and will educate you on the city's past, which is heavily involved in slavery. You can also visit Fort Sumter National Monument by boat or take a tour of the USS Yorktown.

Nightlife
As a college town, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs around town. There's also a lively music scene. Head to the areas near the college for the most affordable and active nightlife. Popular clubs in town include Cure Night Club, Deco Nightclub, and Mynt.

Music
You can hear a number of local bands or enjoy a more widely known group at larger venues in the area.

Resorts
The town has mostly hotels and bed and breakfasts in the downtown area, but nearby Kiawah Island has a number of nice resorts to choose from. Kiawah Island is particularly kid-friendly if you're looking for a family beach vacation. If you have a bit more money to spend and want something more residential, check out nearby Seabrook Island.

Christmas Markets
Marion Square hosts Christmas Markets on weekends throughout the holiday season.




Is Charleston worth visiting in the Summer?

Summer is the high season for travel in Charleston, so expect more visitors and higher prices. This destination is quite popular with tourists, and in the high season it's even busier than usual as this is when most people like to visit. Expect crowds to be large, and prices to be a bit higher than normal. However, there's plenty to do here this time of year, too. Summer is a peak time to visit Charleston. The weather can be hot, but there's often a breeze by the water. Activities are in full force during the summer and crowds are at their peak. You can also expect to pay peak prices during the summer months.

The weather in Charleston is fairly warm during summer, and stays around 28°C (82°F). But it can get as warm as 32°C (90°F) at times, too. It's also quite rainy during this season, so be prepared.

Visiting the nearby beaches is one of the most popular things to do this time of year, so give yourself some time to enjoy the waves and sand. You'll also find it quite easy to get around on foot, because this is a very walkable coastal town, especially in the nice weather. You'll find plenty to do during summer, as you'll be able to lounge on the beach, spend time at the museums, and relax at a luxurious resort. Also, you can browse around the old town and dance the night away.


Summer Weather in Charleston
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
July 28°C (82°F) 176 mm (6.9 in)
August 27°C (81°F) 181 mm (7.1 in)
September 25°C (76°F) 121 mm (4.8 in)

Is Charleston worth visiting in the Autumn?

This is the shoulder season for travel in Charleston. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you can still find plenty of crowds, but better prices.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during autumn with average temperatures around 19°C (67°F).

Soaking up that old town charm in the autumn is one of the favorite activities of visitors. The quaint scenery combined with the weather this time of year is quite nice. During this season it's fun to experience the beautiful scenery, the historic old town, and the museums and landmarks. Also, you can check out the quaint atmosphere, the Christmas markets, and the live music scene.


Autumn Weather in Charleston
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
October 19°C (67°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
November 15°C (58°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
December 10°C (51°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)

Is Charleston worth visiting in the Winter?

The weather in Charleston can be quite cold during winter, and averages around 9°C (47°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

The low season for travel in Charleston is during the winter. This destination is quite touristy, but in the low season you'll see fewer crowds and much better prices. Winter is a bit cooler in Charleston, but it's still a lovely time to visit.

This is a great time of year to wander through the museums, sample the delicious cuisine, and admire the historic sights. Also, you'll be able to take advantage of the local nightlife and listen to some live music.


Winter Weather in Charleston
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
January 9°C (47°F) 85 mm (3.3 in)
February 10°C (50°F) 85 mm (3.3 in)
March 14°C (58°F) 110 mm (4.3 in)

Is Charleston worth visiting in the Spring?

Spring is the shoulder season for travel in Charleston. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you can still find plenty of crowds, but better prices.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during spring with average temperatures around 18°C (64°F).

The scenery of the town this time of year is absolutely beautiful. Admire the gardens, parks, and fantastic architecture, too. Soaking up that old town charm in the spring is one of the favorite activities of visitors. The quaint scenery combined with the weather this time of year is quite nice. You'll find plenty to do during spring, as you'll be able to find the best deals at the shops, browse through museums, and admire the quaint atmosphere. Also, you can experience the beautiful scenery, the historic old town, the live music, and the nightlife.


Spring Weather in Charleston
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
April 18°C (64°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
May 22°C (72°F) 106 mm (4.2 in)
June 26°C (78°F) 163 mm (6.4 in)

Related

What is Charleston most famous for?

Charleston is most famous for its historic city market, low-country cuisine, Civil War history, and antebellum houses. The coastal town is very popular for its food, historical sights, and shopping. Also, it's known for beaches. Many people love the museums, nightlife, music, resorts, and christmas markets, too. It is often described as charming, southern, quaint, historic, classic, and picturesque.

What is the most famous sight in Charleston?

The most popular sight in Charleston is The Waterfront Park. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Charleston on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for The Waterfront Park and other attractions here.

How touristy is Charleston? Is it a popular coastal town to visit?

Charleston is a popular coastal town for tourists and travelers. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

  • SMALL group Historic Walking Tours with certified guides: $30
  • Small Groups Only-History & Storytelling Tour of Charleston: $28
  • Charleston Historical Walking Tour: Pirates, Patriots, and More: $35
  • Charleston Walking Tours with Ann: $75
  • Private Tour! Capture the best of Charleston with a multi-location photoshoot.: $115
  • Historic Charleston Walking & Storytelling Tour: $36
  • Charleston Dolphin and Eco Boat Tour: $295
  • Charleston Sunset and Dolphin Private Cruise: $265

How long should I spend in Charleston?

The ideal length of time for a trip to Charleston is two to seven days. Since Charleston has a variety of activities such as dining, historical sights, and shopping, most people need this much time to see and do everything here.

If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Charleston?, Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Charleston?, and Should I spend 1 or 2 weeks in Charleston?.